Bids from Guadalajara in Mexico, Munich in Germany and Valencia in Spain have been named finalists to host the 2026 Gay Games, an international sport event held every four years with thousands of participants from over 90 nations.
The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) General Assembly made the decision Sunday, reducing a list of eight candidates to three. Missing the cut were bids from Auckland in new Zealand, Brisbane in Australia, San Diego in the United States, Taipei in Taiwan and Toronto in Canada.
“FGG wishes to thank all eight bid cities who truly put forth wonderful bids that illuminated the Federation’s principles, and we look forward to continuing the process with these three finalists.” said David Killian, Officer of Site Selection.
The application process opened in January 2020 with 20 interested cities, but that number was cut to eight by the FGG in March.
A Valencia 2026 spokesperson said Monday on Facebook “We couldn’t be happier.”
“Congratulations to Valencia, to all public institutions for their support and to the entire team of the candidacy for this great achievement.”
In Munich, organizers expressed excitement on social media writing “we are incredibly proud that we have achieved this important goal and congratulate the remaining two colleagues on this success.”
“We are sure that Munich is allowed to have justified hopes because we race the most beautiful city in the world; because the Olympic Park Games will be given a unique setting; because we will continue to fight for the success of the application with a dedicated and steadily growing team and because partners and sponsors are at our side, you can rely on them.”
Federation Of Gay Games Announces 2026 Gay Games XII Shortlist Bid Cities. Congratulations to Guadalajara (MEX), Munich (GER), and Valencia (ESP).#Gamesthatchangetheworld #Spain #Mexico #Germany #Munich #Valencia #Guadalajara #sports #Culture #LGBTQ #UnityInDiversity pic.twitter.com/Sz8PU4EW5p
— Gay Games (@GayGames) February 1, 2021
Elsewhere, there was disappointment.
“We’re disappointed we’re not moving forward,” Toronto 2026 spokesperson Bob Richardson told The Canadian Press.
“From 20 cities, shortlisted to eight and now three – we just didn’t quite make it,” added Richardson who had been instrumental in bringing the FIFA World Cup to Canada to be staged the same year.
The site selection committee will now move forward with the three candidates who will respond to questionnaires and submit ‘expanded’ bid books in April along with USD $15,000 in additional fees towards a $45,000 total commitment from the winning city.
Site inspections will take place in June and July this year if pandemic-related travel restrictions allow, and the final vote determining the winning host city will be taken at the FGG’s Annual General Assembly meeting in Hong Kong in November. The public announcement of the winner will take place later, after a set of agreements have been signed.
Citing results from the Paris 2018 edition, organizers claim the French capital enjoyed a total economic impact of USD $117.9 million with direct related spending of $72.7 million for food, lodging, entertainment and other related activity.
They further describe the generation of $45.8 million in local income which is equivalent to 1,429 full-time-jobs.
About 10,000 participants from 91 countries competed in 36 sport disciplines across Paris.
“These are the Games that change the world and the growing interest in participation, hosting and volunteering proves that,” Killian said last year.
The next Gay Games will be staged in Hong Kong from 11-19 November 2022.